In my last post, I went over a couple new therapy strategies we’ve recently employed. Â But I’d be remiss if I didn’t describe our most important, most effective form of therapy: prayer.
When we were in the midst of our long journey to become parents, losingÂ one pregnancy after another, we learned a lot aboutÂ joy. Â God showed us that having joy in the midst of terrible trials is far more fulfilling than simply being happy when life is good (James 1:2-4). Â This time around, I’m learning a lot about the power of prayer. Â God is teaching meÂ how to refine my prayers, but also to step out in faith and pray bigger and harder than ever before (Luke 11:9-13). Â He is also encouraging me to remember to pray without ceasingÂ , and to ask for prayer from others.
Recently, Ryan was reading in James and came across these verses:
Are any of you sick? Â You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Â Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. Â (James 5:14-15)
We are awareÂ that our church anoints people because it’s sometimes mentioned in our pre-service prayer meetings, but weÂ hadn’t ever thought much about it. Â In my mind, it was reserved for old people… sick people. Â Suddenly, it became very clear that we ought to do exactly what Scripture says. Â To come before the Lord with friends and teachers and pray for Ryder in a way we never have before. Â So we scheduled Ryder’s anointing for this past Sunday. Â While we were getting ready for church that morning, Ryder’s face lit up and he said, “Mom! Â Today’s the day I’m getting UNITED!” Â Ha!
Between services, we gathered in a quiet corner with some elders and pastors. Â Pastor Gordon explained the process and the history of anointing, and then prayed a cleansing prayer to ask forgiveness for our sins. Â After that, Pastor Joel (who visited Ryder in the hospital twice) knelt down and rubbed a little oil onto Ryder’s forehead, and those in attendance took turns praying for him. Â It was quick, but sweet… and yes, we both cried. Â Ryder even admitted to his teacher that he “had tears but held them in.”
Admittedly, I was a little caught off guardÂ because it triggered some difficult memories. Â It kinda took me back to the night we were told that Kaiser Modesto wasn’t equipped to care for Ryder, and that he was being transferred to Roseville by ambulance. Â We huddled togetherÂ in his tiny hospital room, praying… andÂ sobbing,Â and praying some more. Â His feverish body was hooked up to beeping machines and looked so small and frail in that big mechanical bed. Â And I felt so helpless knowing that he was going to be so far away from home. Â We were terrified, and so was he… but he was so brave.
This is my command – be strong and courageous! Â Do not be afraid or discouraged. Â For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Â (Joshua 1:9)
We realize that a ceremony (is it a ceremony?) like this won’t suddenly heal our boy. Â The oil Joel rubbed on his head isn’t a magic potion. Â The healing power lies withÂ God and our obedience to His Word. Â Ryder’s body will be healed one day, but it has nothing to do with anything we can do. Â God is faithful, and we will remain faithful as well.
Don’t just listen to God’s word. Â You must do what it says. Â (James 1:22)
It was such a blessing to be surrounded by these people, some of them familiar and others newly acquainted, who were willing to take the time out of their morning to pray with us on behalf of our brave boy. Â It was humbling, and I am grateful. Â I’m also grateful for everyone of you who may be reading this. Â Chances are, you’ve been traveling along with us since December, praying like crazy the whole way, and we love you for it!